Demolition has been completed at the former tuxedo building that will be turned into Perfecto’s Caffe. What happened at the building before it was razed, however, remains up for discussion.
Max Gabriello, the owner of Perfecto’s Caffe, was recently told by the town that he has been fined for violating the unoccupied building maintenance bylaw. During Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Town Manager Bob LeLacheur said an initial fine of $1,200 has already been sent and another totaling $2,400 will be added to the total.
According to the meeting minutes from earlier this month, LeLacheur told selectmen that the town had reached out to Gabriello and asked him to clean up trash and graffiti at the site, but the business owner did not return communication.
During the September 10 meeting, Gabriello said he believed the noncompliance fine was unfair, but selectmen said they believe the site was not up to town standards for being a clean building. The issue at hand was resolved when Gabriello completed demolition of the building, but the fines remained.
On Tuesday, selectmen said Gabriello has appealed the fines to Woburn District Court and said the Reading Building Inspector will appear in court if a hearing occurs. The court would likely consolidate the two fines into one hearing.
Selectmen said they believe Gabriello only was moved to cleaning up the site when the fines were imposed by the town.
“I am not a fan of penalizing businesses, but on the other hand we have bylaws,” said selectman John Arena. “The town has bent over backwards. Only the imposition of the fines as a last resort caused motion.”